How to Document Bugs and Issues so your team draw the greatest benefit from them

How to Write a Bug Report? Some Effective Tips

Bug reporting is an integral part of software testing as it helps to identify and document any issues that arise during the process. By using a Bug report, testers can track the progress of their work and compare results over time. This allows them to change their test plans and strategies if needed. The end goal of any testing activity is to find as many bugs as possible – manual testing and test automation included. Additionally, bug reports provide developers with detailed information on how to reproduce a particular issue, which helps them identify and fix the bug quickly. Furthermore, by documenting all bugs in a systematic way, teams can easily track the progress of their projects and identify areas where improvements need to be made. In this blog, we will look into all the instances that are involved while curating a bug report and how you can make an effective bug report.

What is a Bug Report/Defect Report?

A bug report is a document that communicates information regarding a software or hardware fault or malfunction. It typically includes details such as the steps necessary to reproduce the issue, the expected behavior, and the observed behavior. The primary purpose of a bug report is to provide an accurate description of the problem to the development team to facilitate its resolution. Bug reports must be clear, concise, and correct to assist developers in understanding and quickly resolving the issue. All bugs must be documented in a bug-reporting system to identify, prioritize, and fix them promptly. Failure to do so may lead to the developer not understanding or disregarding the issue, as well as management not recognizing the severity of it and leaving it in production until customers make them aware.

Benefits of a Good Software Bug Report?

A good bug report should provide clear and detailed information about the issue, enabling the development team to understand and reproduce it. It should include details such as an accurate description of the problem, steps taken to reproduce it, expected results, actual results, screenshots or video recordings, if applicable, device configuration, and other relevant data. Such information allows for a more efficient resolution of the issue.

  1. It can help you figure out precisely what’s wrong with a bug, so you can find the best way to fix it.
  2. Saves you time and money by helping you catch the bug before it worsens.
  3. Stops bugs from making it into the final product and ruining someone’s experience.
  4. Plus, it helps ensure the same bug doesn’t appear again in future versions.
  5. Finally, everyone involved will know what’s happening with the bug so they can do something about it.

How to Report a Bug?

Effectively reporting a bug is essential for the development team to resolve the issue promptly and accurately. A well-constructed bug report should be concise, comprehensive, and comprehensible. The following steps can be taken to submit a bug report:

  1. Attempt to replicate the bug consistently and systematically.
  2. Gather data on the environment, such as the browser type, operating system, and applicable software versions.
  3. Construct explicit instructions outlining how to reproduce the bug.
  4. Include screenshots or videos that may assist in illustrating the issue to developers.
  5. Articulate what outcome was anticipated and differentiate it from what occurred in reality.
  6. Outline the severity and priority of the bug: Describe how the bug impacts the software’s functionality and determine its level of urgency.
  7. Check for duplicates: Investigate the bug tracking system to ascertain if it has already been reported.
  8. Assign the bug to a relevant developer or team and follow up
  9. Monitor progress on the bug to ensure it is being addressed and provide any extra information that may be necessary.

How to Write a Bug Report?

A good bug report should enable the developer and management to comprehend the issue. Guidelines to consider include:

1. All the relevant information must be provided with the bug report

Simple sentences should be used to describe the bug. Expert testers consider bug reporting nothing less than a skill. We have compiled some tips that will help testers master them better:

2. Report reproducible bugs:

While reporting a bug, the tester must ensure that the bug is reproducible. The steps to reproduce the bug must be mentioned. All the prerequisites for the execution of steps and any test data details should be added to the bug.

3. Be concise and clear:

Try to summarize the issue in a few words, brief but comprehensive. Avoid writing lengthy descriptions of the problem.

Describe the issue in pointers and avoid paragraphs. It’s essential to provide all the relevant information, and it helps the developers to understand the issue without any additional to and fro of the bug. The developer must clearly understand the underlying problem with the bug report.

4. Report bugs early:

It is important to report bugs as soon as you find them. Reporting the bug early will help the team to fix the bug early and will help to deliver the product early.

5. Avoid Spelling mistakes and language errors:

Proofread all the sentences and check the issue description for spelling and grammatical errors.

If required, one can use third-party tools, for eg. Grammarly. It will help the developer understand the bug without ambiguity and misrepresentation.

6. Documenting intermittent issues:

Sometimes all bugs are not reproducible. You must have observed that sometimes a mobile app crashes, and you must restart the app to continue. These types of bugs are not reproducible every time.

Testers must try to make a video of the bug in such scenarios and attach it to the bug report. A video is often more helpful than a screenshot because it will include details of steps that are difficult to document.

For example, a mobile app crashes while switching between applications or sending an app to the background and bringing it to the front.

7. Avoid duplication of bugs:

While raising a bug, one must ensure that the bug is not duplicating an already-reported bug. Also, check the list of known and open issues before you start raising bugs. Reporting duplicate bugs could cost duplicate efforts for developers, thus impacting the testing life cycle.

8. Create separate bugs for unrelated issues:

If multiple issues are reported in the same bug, it can’t be closed unless all the issues are resolved. So, separate bugs should be created if issues are not related to each other.

For example, Let’s say a tester comes across two issues in an application in different modules. One issue is in compose email functionality, where the user cannot compose an email, and another issue is that the user cannot print an email. These issues must be raised separately as they are independent of each other.

9. Don’t use an authoritative tone:

While documenting the bug, avoid using a commanding tone, harsh words, or making fun of the developer.

The objective of a good bug report is to help the developer and the management to understand the bug and its impact on the system. The more accurate and detailed the bug report is, the more quickly and effectively the bug can be resolved.

Essential Features in Bug Report

Various bug reporting tools, like Jira, Bugzilla, TFS, and Asana, are available in the market. Depending on the project cost, one must select the bug reporting tool.

Excel or Word can also be used for reporting bugs for small projects. Irrespective of the tools used for logging the bug, the tester must capture some details in the bug report.

Below are the essential details that should be mentioned while creating a bug report:

1. Bug ID:

Each bug should be given a unique identification number. Bug reporting tools automatically provide a unique number to the newly raised bugs. This field helps to identify the bug easily.

Essential Features in Bug Report
(Sample Bug)
Essential Features in Bug Report

2. Summary:

A summary of the issue should be provided. The summary should be a concise statement that helps to identify the problem. Bug titles should be easy to understand, which would help identify the issue quickly.A good bug summary helps managers review the bugs quickly during the bug review meetings.

A good bug summary helps managers review the bugs quickly during the bug review meetings.

3. Description:

The description should be provided in the bug to help the developer in understanding the bug. It should be in simple language that a developer can understand easily.All the details about the environment and the type of user privileges must be mentioned. For eg. any prerequisite for executing test steps like any configuration or test data.Let’s look at another example: the Mobile app crashes while switching to a module to which the user can’t access. In these scenarios, user privileges details must be mentioned in the prerequisite along with the URL of the admin page to modify the user permissions.

4. Test Steps:

Test steps are a detailed description of the exact steps taken to replicate an issue and should be included when reporting a problem. They provide the necessary information for developers to identify and debug any issues. Test steps should be written clearly and concisely, outlining each step in detail so that it can be easily followed by the developer.

5. Actual Results:

The actual result of the test steps must be mentioned. Regardless of the outcome, documenting what happened to conclude the result will help improve future scenarios.

6. Expected Results:

Expected results corresponding to failed steps must be mentioned, which would help the developer to know the exact behavior to adapt while fixing the bug. This section will also be helpful while retesting the bug.

7. Reporter:

The name and email of the reporter of the bug should be mentioned. In bug reporting tools, these are automatically fetched from the user profile. It would help the developer or reviewer to quickly identify who reported the bug. Developers can reach out to the reporter if any discussion is required around the bug.

8. Reported date:

The date when the bug is raised should be mentioned. This will help in identifying the release in which the bug occurred.

9. Assignee:

The bug should be assigned to the product owner or development manager. They can review the bug and plan the fix as per the team member’s bandwidth and module expertise. In some cases, bugs can be left unassigned and added to the bugs queue, where developers can pick them according to priority.

10. Severity:

The tester defines it for bugs depending upon the impact on the application. Severity can be as follows:i. Blocker: Blocks development and/or testing work and/or the actual use of the system/product (e.g. crash upon starting the app)ii. Major: Major loss of function, with no workaround, other parts of the product/system still workiii. Normal: Normal loss of function, or other problem, where a difficult workaround is presentiv. Minor: Minor loss of function or other problem where a workaround is present for the functionality

11. Priority:

It is defined as a bug by the tester/product owner, considering severity, probability, business needs, time, and resources available.i. Critical: Bugs that are mission-critical to the application’s core functionality and for which there are no workarounds.Note: These bugs should be sporadic, and this category should only be used if encountering a team/user blocking situation.ii. Urgent: Bugs related to the application’s core functionality and have to be fixed urgently within the sprint.iii. High: Bugs that do not affect critical user functionality and have workarounds. These bugs can be fixed in the next sprint.iv. Normal: Bugs that do not interfere with core functionality are just annoyances that may or may not ever be fixed.v. Low: Whatever gets defined as low might be kept in the backlog and might be closed as a known issue.

12. Component:

Sometimes an application is classified into multiple modules, which are then mentioned under the component field when a bug is reported. It becomes easier to analyze which module has problems. When bugs are assigned with the corresponding components mentioned, it becomes easier for the development manager to assign the bug to respective team members based on their areas of expertise.

13. Affected Version:

It is the version of the application on which the bug is reported. Knowing the exact application version can also provide valuable insight into how widespread the bug may be and what other users may be experiencing. Having this information available can save time and resources when working to resolve any potential issues with an application.

14. Fix Version:

It is the application’s version on which the bug is fixed. When a tester identifies a bug, they can update the application version to fix it. This requires careful consideration of the code and any potential changes that may be necessary. Once the bug is fixed, the tester retests the application to ensure it works as expected. If there are any issues, they can be addressed and corrected before releasing the new version of the software.

15. Date Closed:

It is the date the bug is closed by the testing team. Closing a bug is an integral part of the software testing process. The date on which a bug is closed is recorded in the bug tracking system, along with any notes regarding how it was resolved and who was responsible for resolving it. This information can be used as reference material for future troubleshooting efforts and as a record of progress toward improving software quality.

16. Target version:

It is the application’s version on which a bug is targeted to be fixed. When developers work on fixing a bug, they usually target a specific application version. This allows them to focus on resolving the issue in that particular version while ensuring other versions are not affected by any changes they make. By targeting a specific version of an application, developers can ensure that all users running that version will receive the bug fix and benefit from it.

17. Status:

A software bug follows a cycle. According to where it is in the cycle, a status is assigned. For eg. When a new bug is created, its status is assigned as open. Later, it goes through various stages like In Progress, Fixed, Won’t Fix, Accepted, Reopen, Verified, etc. These stages vary following different bug reporting tools.

Essential Features in Bug Report
(Bug Life Cycle)

18. Attachments:

Screenshots, videos, and logs should be attached for the failed steps. Screenshots should be highlighted for the issues, which help the developer to visualize the issue quickly. Videos and logs will help to reproduce the issue with the required steps.

Best if suggestions to fix are incorporated if known.

Conclusion

Testers must create comprehensive bug reports for practical bug analysis and resolution. Testers should incorporate all pertinent information to ensure the highest quality of reports and communicate clearly with developers and managers. Best practices for bug reporting should be shared to optimize report accuracy. Integrating test automation and bug-reporting tools, such as Testsigma, can expedite the reporting process while conserving resources. Ultimately, well-crafted bug reports foster positive collaboration between teams and reduce costs related to fixing bugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should be in a bug report?

A bug report should include a detailed description of the issue, the steps taken to reproduce the issue, the expected outcome, and the actual outcome. It should also include any relevant screenshots or other supporting evidence that can help illustrate what is happening. Additionally, it should include information on the device type, operating system version, and browser version being used when the issue occurred.

How do you write a bug report?

A bug report is a document that describes a problem in software or hardware and provides information to help developers fix the issue. A bug report should include the following:

1. A descriptive title that summarizes the issue

2. A detailed description of the problem, including steps to reproduce it

3. The expected behavior and actual behavior

4. The type of device or system affected

5. The version of the software or hardware affected

6. Any error messages or screenshots associated with the issue

7. Your contact information in case developers have questions about your report

What is a bug report in QA?

A bug report in QA is a document that describes an issue or defect in a software application. It typically includes the environment, steps to reproduce the issue, and expected versus actual behavior. Quality Assurance (QA) teams use bug reports to identify and track issues so they can be addressed in future product releases.

Suggested Reading

Bug Report Template

Techniques to Prevent Software Bugs

Guide to Deal with Missed Bugs

Reduce the Risk of Missing Bugs

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